Blackouts sweep Manhattan following Sandy

Earth, wind, water, and fire: A power plant explosion surprised many New York residents.

Mar 3, 2020, 1:17 am*


Chase Hoffberger 

Chase Hoffberger

Here’s the reason why all your friends in New York City spent last night tweeting about how dark it was in their apartment.

Around 9pm ET Monday night, an electrical fire sent the Consolidated Edison plant—the plant that provides power nearly all of New York City—on 14th Street and Avenue D into nuclear explosion mode, with a toxic mix of water and electricity setting off one of the wildest explosions Gotham City has seen in some time.

While the ConEd explosion was severe, it wasn’t actually the detonation that broke the city’s electrical back. The utility company had actually preemptively shut off power in lower Manhattan and many sections of Brooklyn before 9pm after “flooding in company substations” forced the lights out.

Bloomberg reporter Nick Summers captured the blackout’s initial aesthetic on Instagram shortly after the explosion, posting this photo of Manhattan from his apartment just south of the East Village.

Photo via TrillianMedia/YouTube

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*First Published: Oct 30, 2012, 10:13 am